Healthy Heart Challenge
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Allison Russell 
Allison Russell 
In 2008, a special person in my life died from a sudden heart attack at age 37 - a lifelong friend somebody I will never replace. The reality of how fragile our bodies are hit me like a ton of bricks. For me, it was time to take action and live a healthy life. I began my weight loss journey seriously. I wanted to at least be able to tell my friends and family that I had made an effort to be healthy, if indeed I did have a heart attack  or some  other serious illness related to weight. I was particularly worried about heart disease. I did not want to be remembered at my funderal as a  person who did not respect her body. Heart disease runs in my Mother's family, and as a sufferer of high blood pressure, was on three different types of medication to keep this under control. I was feeling so unwell, I actually found myself thinking about my funeral, and sadly, what songs would be played.

Having now lost a significant amount of weight, on only one blood pressure tablet, and a very happy GP, I have experienced many emotional challenges which I did not expect along the way. When I started my journey, my goal was to live a healthy lifestyle, be more active and enjoy my life. "Make the most of every day" as they say. I have achieved this goal, and realised that I am happy.  

Today I work in Ipswich Qld, and reside in Brisbane Qld with my three beautiful children, and continue to be surprised when people all around me recite stories of inspiration to me - that they are inspired by me! Without really even trying, I  have come to terms with the fact that I am now inspiring my friends and family to consider healthy choices. That rocks - and makes me happy. If I can make a difference to just one person with whom I am privileged to have in my world, this is above and beyond what I hoped to achieve for myself. I exercise four times a week at Curves Kenmore and walk most days during my lunch break throughout the beautiful City of Ipswich for 30 minutes - (I love the hills, they are great).  Ultimately, this is the measure of my success. I am proud to be a Heart Champion

Allison has chosen the 'Be active every day' goal.
Week 3 update

My goal that I set out to achieve was to be more healthy/active within the workplace.

This week, my goal is to have at least two extra work colleagues tag along for my daily walk at lunch time. Hopefully the trend will be catchy!!!

I have been reminded of how important it is to listen to my body as it is changing.  My blood pressure had dropped as previously I had been on medication which seems is no longer necessary due to the weight loss and extra exercise.  Dizzy spells etc. were a bit of a reminder of how important it is to keep your GP informed when embarking on a weight loss or exercise program.

I shared some healthy cooking with my work colleagues.  We had a BBQ at lunch where my contribution amongst the traditional snorkels (sausages) on the BBQ & ambience of onions sizzling, was yummy vegetable kebabs - magic - almost all were converted. 

I also have proven that Mountain Bread is a great substitute for pastry - even my closest critic commented on how yummy my pies were for State of Origin celebrations!!!! (and minus loads of calories).

I rewarded myself by purchasing a beautiful red dress that I have been eyeing off for a while at Kenmore Village - even better, it was on sale!!!

However I did have one day this week, where the day just slipped away from my fingertips.  I did not get outside at all to smell the roses, let alone go for a walk.  I asked myself "who is this person?" "How did that happen?"  Not as easy as it sounds to leave the office, for 30 minutes to have a break when you are faced with many competing priorities.

To other challengers my advice is to keep focused, be kind to yourself and forgiving.  Remember tomorrow, you can do it all again, and everyone, and everything preventing you from taking that walk/or doing that work out - will still be there - and guess what??? They can just ......wait!!!!
ps I’m looking forward to the interview at the Go Red for Women Roadshow at Mt Ommany Shopping Centre, on Thursday 23 June 2011 - 5.40pm.
Thanks, Allie xxxx

Week 6 update

Hi Fellow Heart throbs!!!!

This week I have managed to get into my size 12 jeans, and skirt - these have been my target reward items of clothing, which when I started the Challenge were, well let's just say, a little tooooooo tight -  ooh la la!!! I can't believe it, down from an original size 26 to a size 12. Funnily enough the kilo count still remains the same, but the shape and tone of my body seems to be changing with the additional exercise, and change in lifestyle - maybe the shock it needed to get going again.

Last week I visited Mt Ommaney and Pacific Fair shopping Centre's with the Heart Foundation's Go Red for Women Roadshow crew, representing a major sponsor, Curves. The most interesting topic from the audience afterwards was the wonder of how I managed to have such tight skin??? I guess it is a wonder, after a 70 kilo loss, and I can understand how some people may doubt that (all they need do is look at before shots, I mean really if they don't believe me - that's proof even though I secretly want to burn that photo forever - it is a gentle reminder).

Anyway, as I explained to the crowd, the secret in my opinion to successfully reducing weight and maintain tight skin is the complimentary combination of exercise. Not just any exercise, but light weight cardio exercise. You will find this is part of the 30 minute Curves workout, especially designed for women, which if done 3 times a week will help your body shrink back into shape naturally.

One interested lady struck up a conversation with me, who spoke about a friend of hers who had lost 80 kilos through surgery and was forced to pay approx $10K in additional surgery costs to remove the excess skin - OMG !!!! If that doesn't make exercise and a workout worth it, don't know what does.

I kind of strayed this week, family birthday celebrations - oh well, back on track tomorrow.

Stay cool all of you cool cats in this winter weather (minus 2 in The Switch (Ipswich) this week)

Love Allie xxxx

P.S - don't forget to "Get Switched" in The Switch ( Ipswich) for a Heart Foundation family fun cycle 50 km ride from Brisbane to Ipswich 14/08/2011 - put it in your diary now, a great chance to meet new people.
Week 9 update
I have been enjoying the relaxation this week of returning my pet fish to work - I have a fighting fish in a little tank on my desk - his name is Elvis.

He is the talk of the office, and we are thinking about bedazzling his tank he is such a show off!!! It is amazing how soothing and therapeutic it is to have Elvis on my desk, and how he has impacted others too.

My weight loss has picked up again after a long plateau - loosing another 2 kg - yippee!!!  I was more excited that one of my friends told me today that i had lost some tummy fat across the front - that's probably more meaningful.  She was reluctant to use the word "fat", but I told her it was OK - she could say it, cause it was all in the past.